Oslo, the capital and largest city of Norway (about 600.000 people), is beautifully located at the northernmost end of the Oslofjord. It is a the city where Henrik Ibsen and Knut Hamsun lived and worked. Even if most tourists are more tempted by Norwegian countryside locations like mountains, Bergen or Trondheim, Oslo has lot of charm, and is known for its rich nightlife and many interesting sights.
Viking Ship Museum with two original Viking-ships, artefacts, and a Viking burial chamber.
Kon-Tiki Museum displaying Tor Heyerdahl's balsa raft Kon-Tiki, and Ra II, along with artifacts from Easter Island.
Folk Museum is a large open air museum featuring typical buildings from various periods in Norwegian history. (All those museums are situated on the peninsula Bygdøy - bus or ferry will take you there).
New Opera House building – a masterpiece of architecture; great view.
Munch Museum with paintings of famous Norwegian Edward Munch.
Wooden housing areas: Kampen, Vålerenga, Telthusbakke and Rodeløkka. See also collection of traditional buildings in open-air Folk Museum.
Islands in Oslo-fjord (during summer).
Holmenkollen – a ski jump tower with great view over the city.
Akershus festning - medieval castle built in 1299, located close to the city center, with great view.
Frogner Park - large recreation area, including Vigeland Sculpture Park.
Leisure, entertainment and night clubs
Grünerløkka is a part of the city filled with cafés, bars, small fashion and designer shops, as well as with great green areas. Many restaurants, pubs and nightclubs are located in the centre – around Stortingsgaten and Royal Castle, which is also the main shopping area in Oslo. Grønland is also worth checking.
Smoking is prohibited in all bars, pubs and restaurants. Alcohol is served only to 3.00 a.m.
Where and what to eat
Norway is regarded as one of the most expensive countries in the world, so eating out can be expensive too. Nevertheless, visit for instance the famous Grand Café – elegant place that has been popular since Ibsen´s days. It is situated in the most prestigious hotel in Oslo, Grand Hotel Oslo (the hotel where Nobel Peace Prize winners stay when coming to the award ceremony). A great variation of good food to affordable prices offer many Asian restaurants. The very popular Aker Brygge is full of outdoor restaurants and bars, and tasting some sea-food there is a “must”.
It is advisable to book a hotel in advance during international fairs, conferences and other big events. Even B&B and youth hostels can be sometimes booked full, since Norway is a Mecca for backpackers, especially during summer months.
Getting here and getting around
The Oslo Airport, Gardermoen, located 45 km from Oslo, is Norway’s biggest airport. The speed train (Flytoget) takes passengers to and from Oslo, but there a cheaper ways to get to the centre - by bus or local train. There are two other airports in the Oslo area:
Torp Airport near Sandefjord (110 km/68 mi away) and Moss Lufthavn Rygge (60 km/99 mi away). The airports are served with direct flights from most European capitals and holiday destinations, as well as from New York.
By boat: There are daily ferry connections to Kiel (Germany), Copenhagen and Frederikshavn (Denmark), and Nesodden.
By train and bus
To the main railway station - Oslo Sentralstasjon - arrive direct trains from Trondheim, Bergen, Stavanger, Stockholm, and Gothenburg, Sweden, as well as from Danish capital Copenhagen.
Among biggest operators of international buses there are Swedish companies Swebus Express and Säfflebussen and they provide easy and comfortable way of travelling, all the way from Copenhagen or even Berlin. Eurolines and Moravia Express take passengers mostly from Polish and Czech destinations, but also from Germany and Holland.
Two international highways E6 and E18 meets in Oslo.
It is easy to get around in Oslo – you have buses, trams, metro (T-bane), trains, and boats, and - except winter months – also public bike service. Taxi is rather expensive, but safe and comfortable.
Time zone: UTC (GMT) +1. Daytime saving time (DST) is observed.
Currency: Norwegian krone (NOK).
Climate: mild, thanks to the warm waters of Gulf Stream. Long, dark and snowy winters (November - March) with average temperature of 0,7-4,3°C; although cold weather with temperature drops to -10°C can occur. In spring, the temperature raises, with the averages of 4,5-11°C. Also in September - October, it normally stays around 16°C. Summers (June - August)are mild and warm, with average day temperature about 20-22°C. Rains falls across the year, but they are never heavy.
The first urban settlement dates 10th century. Under 300 years, after it was devastated by fire 1624 and later on rebuild a few kilometers west, the city was called Christiania (1624-)1878, later Kristiania (1878-1924). Many landmarks – like Royal Palace or Stortinget (the Parliament) or Nationaltheatret are from 19th century.